Archive for the 'Seasonal' Category



One Horse Open Sleigh


h1 Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Inspired by the sleigh races in Medford Massachusetts during the mid 19th century, James Pierpont penned this song at 19 High Street in the center of Medford Square at what was then the Simpson Tavern. It has since become a popular Christmas song.

My wife Camilla and I have added new lyrics to reflect what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in Florida. Note the “Miami Vice” TV show was on the air (in the 1980s) when we came up with the new words. It’s in reruns now but there is still plenty of vice in Miami.

Merry Christmas 2016!

Lyrics:

[G] Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open [C] sleigh
O’er the fields we [D] go
Laughing all the [G] way

[G] Bells on bobtail ring
Making spirits [C] bright
Oh what fun to [D] ride and sing
A sleighing song [G] tonight!

[G] Jingle bells, [Bm] jingle bells,
[Em] Jangle all the [G] way.
[C] Oh! what fun [G] it is to ride
[Am] In a one-horse open [D] sleigh.

[G] Jingle bells, [Bm] jingle bells,
[Em] Jangle all the [G] way.
[C] Oh! what fun [G] it is to ride
[D] In a one-horse open [G] sleigh.

BREAK

Oh Miami Vice, Disney’s nice
Alligators all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a fishing boat today

Oh Astronauts, swamp land lots
Big bugs all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a racing sloop today

Here we are in Florida
Without a hope of snow
Under swaying palms
Hurricanes sure to blow

But Santa Clause will know
How Florida will agree
Instead of coming from the North
He’ll come from the Florida Keys

Oh Miami Vice, Disney’s nice
Alligators all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a fishing boat today

Oh Astronauts, swamp land lots
Big bugs all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a racing sloop today X2

(c) McGuinn Music / April First Music 2016
New Lyrics By Roger McGuinn/Camilla McGuinn

February Song


h1 Monday, February 1st, 2016

This was a traditional children’s song from Trinidad with one verse called “All Who Born In January.” But I have already done a Folk Den song for January so I invoked the “Folk Process” and renamed it “February Song.” I have added new verses as well. Now it’s a joyous winter song. If you wish to sing it in its original version the verse is at the bottom of the page.

The image above is “A Brush for the Lead”, lithograph by Currier and Ives, 1867

Lyrics:
[G] All who Born In February [D] come [G] around
[G] All who Born In February [D] come around
[G] Singing dancing [C] in the frost
[G] Singing dancing [C] in the frost
[G] All who Born In February [D] come [G] around

All who like a sleigh ride come around
All who like a sleigh ride come around
New York Flyers on the snow
New York Flyers on the snow
All who like a sleigh ride come around

All who like a snowman come around
All who like a snowman come around
Coal for eyes and a carrot nose
Coal for eyes and a carrot nose
All who like a snowman come around

All who like those jingle bells come around
All who like those jingle bells come around
Jingle Jangle through the town
Jingle Jangle through the town
All who like those jingle bells come around

All who like a fireplace come around
All who like a fireplace come around
Warm and cozy on your toes
Warm and cozy on your toes
All who like a fireplace come around

All who Born In February come around
All who Born In February come around
Singing dancing in the frost
Singing dancing in the frost
All who Born In February come around

Original:

From: http://musicnotes.net/SONGS/00-ALLWH.html

All who born in January skip around.
All who born in January skip around.
Tra la la la la la la,
Tra la la la la la la.
All who born in January skip around.

Angels We Have Heard On High


h1 Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

The lyrics for “Angels We Have Heard On High” are a translation of a French song Les Anges dans nos campagnes (literally, “Angels in our countryside”) The melody is a traditional hymn “Gloria” Gloria in Excelsis Deo! (Latin for “Glory to God in the highest”

Merry Christmas 2015 and Vive la France!

Lyrics:
[G] Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strain
—Chorus—:

[G] Glo-o-o-o-o-o- [C] O-o-o-o-o-o-[G] O-o-o-o-o-o-[D] O-ri-a [G] in Ex-cel-sis De-o![D]
[G] Glo-o-o-o-o-o- [C] O-o-o-o-o-o-[G] O-o-o-o-o-o-[D] O-ri-a [G] in Ex-cel-sis [D] De-o![G]

Shepherds, why this jubilee,
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly songs?

Chorus

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

Chorus

See Him in a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Savior’s birth.

Chorus

The Cherry Tree Carol


h1 Monday, December 1st, 2014

Brought to you from the 15th century, this carol (Child Ballad 54) tells the story of Mary and Joseph before the baby Jesus was born.

Lyrics:
[F] JOSEPH was an old man,
and an old man was he,
[When he courted lovely [Dm] Mary,
the queen of [F] Galilee. X2]

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries,
so red as any blood. X2

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard green,
Where was berries and cherries,
as thick as might be seen. X2

O then bespoke Mary,
so meek and so mild:
“Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
for I am with child.” X2

O then bespoke Joseph,
with words most unkind:
“Let him pluck thee a cherry
that brought thee with child.” X2

O then bespoke the babe,
from within his mother’s womb:
“Bow down then the tallest tree,
for my mother to have some.” X2

Then bowed down the highest tree
unto his mother’s hand;
She cried, See, dear Joseph,
I have cherries at command.X2

O then bespoke Joseph:
“I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
and be not thou cast down.” X2

Then Mary plucked a cherry,
as red as the blood,
Then Mary went homeward
with her heavy load.X2

Then Mary took her babe,
and sat him down on her knee,
Saying, My dear son, please tell me
what this world will be.X2

“O I shall be as dead, mother,
as the stones in this wall;
O the stones in the streets, mother,
shall mourn for me all.X2

“Upon Easter-day, mother,
my uprising shall be;
O the sun and the moon, mother,
shall both rise with me.” X2

Winter’s Almost Gone


h1 Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Photo by Camilla McGuinn

Another “Winter Song” during one the coldest winters in North America, due to several successive “Polar Vortices.” A song brought to mind by the passing of the great folk legend and personal mentor, Pete Seeger. Click here to see our tribute to Pete.

I’ve added new words and new music as part of the “Folk Process” a term Pete’s father Charles Seeger came up with to describe how folk songs change by one means or another; sometimes because they were passed by the oral tradition and the person listening didn’t hear it properly. Or as in this case where the song was modified to fit a different circumstance. Pete Seeger found his time to “travel on.” Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will miss him!

Lyrics:

[A] Done laid around and stayed around
This old town too long
Winter’s almost gone
[D] Spring’s a-comin’ [A] on

[A] Done laid around and stayed around
This old town too long
[D] And I feel like it’s [E] time to travel [A] on

Yes I [D] feel like it’s [E] time
[A] Time to travel [F#m] on
[D] I feel like it’s [E] time to travel [A] on

I’ve waited here for ‘most a year
Waitin’ for the sun to shine
Waitin’ for the sun to shine
Hopin’ you’d be mine

Waited here for ‘most a year
Hoping you’d change your mind
Now I feel like it’s time to travel on

Yes I feel like it’s time
Time to travel on
I feel like it’s time to travel on

Well, the chili wind it soon will end
I’ll be on my way
Gone a lonesome day
Going home to stay

Chilly wind it soon will end
I’ll be on my way
Cause I feel like it’s time to travel on

Yes I feel like it’s time
Time to travel on
I feel like it’s time to travel on

2014 McGuinn Music

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear


h1 Sunday, December 1st, 2013

The poem for this carol was composed in 1849 by Edmund Sears at the request of his friend, William Parsons Lunt, pastor of United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts. It was not until a year later that Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn came up with the beautiful melody.

I have recorded this with layers of Rickenbacker 12-string guitar to emulate bells ringing from an old grey stone church tower.

Lyrics:

[G] It came [C] upon the [G] midnight clear,
That glorious [C] song of [D] old,
[G] From angels [C] bending [G] near the earth,
To [C] touch their [D] harps of [G] gold:
[Bm} "Peace on the earth, [Em] goodwill to men,
From [D] heaven’s [A7} all-gracious [D] King.”
[G] The world in [C] solemn [G] stillness lay,
[C] To hear the [D] angels [G] sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

We Three Kings


h1 Saturday, December 1st, 2012

This is a Christmas carol I’ve never tried to play before. As I went through the chords, it struck me they were very much like the patterns folk singer Bob Gibson favored. A good example is his version of “Wayfaring Stranger” I recorded for the Folk Den back in May of 1997. I’ve always loved songs that progress from Em to G and C. The sound of a minor chord rising to a major chord is uplifting!.
Lyrics:
3/4 TIME CAPO ON THIRD FRET

[Em] We three kings of [D] Orient [Em] are
Bearing gifts we [D] traveled so [Em] far
[G] Field and [D] fountain, [G] moor and [C] mountain
[D] Following yonder [Em] star

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

[G] O Star of wonder, [C] star of [G] night
Star with royal [C] beauty [G] bright
[G] Westward [D] leading, [C] still [D] proceeding
[G] Guide us to Thy [C] perfect [G] light

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlmen


h1 Thursday, December 1st, 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as described on Carols.org.uk

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.

I recorded the vocals and acoustic guitar at the Lee’s “Farm Niente” over Thanksgiving 2011. When I got home I overdubbed the Rickenbacker 370/12/RM JETGLO which Bill Lee graciously gave me.

Lyrics:

[Dm] God rest ye merry, gentlemen? let nothing you dismay?
Remember, Christ, our Saviour? was born on Christmas day?
[Gm] To save us all from [Dm] Satan’s power ?when we were gone [C] astray?
[Dm] O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and [C] joy?
[Dm] O tidings of [C] comfort and [Dm] joy??

In Bethlehem, in Israel,? this blessed Babe was born?
And laid within a manger? upon this blessed morn?
To which His Mother Mary ?did nothing take in scorn?
O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and joy
?O tidings of comfort and joy??

From God our Heavenly Father? a blessed Angel came;?
And unto certain Shepherds? brought tidings of the same:?
How that in Bethlehem was born? the Son of God by Name.?
O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and joy?
O tidings of comfort and joy??

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,?” Let nothing you affright,?
This day is born a Saviour? of a pure Virgin bright,?
To free all those who trust in Him ?from Satan’s power and might.
“?O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and joy?
O tidings of comfort and joy??

The shepherds at those tidings? rejoiced much in mind,?
And left their flocks a-feeding?In tempest, storm and wind:
?And went to Bethlehem straightway? the Son of God to find.?
O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and joy?
O tidings of comfort and joy??

And when they came to Bethlehem? where our dear Saviour lay,?
They found Him in a manger,? where oxen feed on hay;?
His Mother Mary kneeling down,? unto the Lord did pray.?
O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and joy
?O tidings of comfort and joy??

Now to the Lord sing praises,? all you within this place,?
And with true love and brotherhood? each other now embrace;?
This holy tide of Christmas? all other doth deface.?
O tidings of comfort and joy,? comfort and joy?
O tidings of comfort and joy

The Squirrel


h1 Friday, April 1st, 2011

A sweet little folk song to celebrate Spring in the Northern Hemisphere!
Lyrics:
[D] Squirrel He’s a funny little thing, carries a bushy [A7] tail
[D] He steals away the farmer’s corn, and he hides it on the rail
And he hides it on the [A7] rail

A partridge she’s a pretty little thing, she carries a speckled breast
She steals away the farmer’s corn, she carries it to her nest
And she carries it to her nest

The Possum he’s a cunning little thing, he travels after dark
He ain’t afraid of any old thing till he hears old Rattler bark
Till he hears old Rattler bark

A raccoon’s tail is ringed all around, possum’s tail is bare
A rabbit ain’t got no tail at all, just a little wee bunch of hair
Just a little wee bunch of hair

Christmas Is Coming


h1 Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The lyrics of Christmas Is Coming stem from the traditional English Christmas feast at which geese were eaten. Children learned that this festive period is a time when each person is encouraged to give to charity, even if all they can give is a half penny.

The first documented reference to a penny is from around 790 AD when it was minted in silver. The design frequently changed, depicting various rulers. The Anglo-Saxon penny had a cross on the reverse side, a symbol of Christianity. These crosses were used as guidelines for cutting pennies into halves and quarters. The ha’penny (half a penny) and farthing (a fourth of a penny) were minted later. The word farthing was derived from ‘fourthing’. The penny changed from silver to copper in 1797 then to bronze in 1860 and finally to copper plated steel in 1992. 

I recorded this on Thanksgiving Day 2009 in Charleston South Carolina at an inn across from Historic St. Philips Church. The bells were ringing as I laid down my guitar track and I captured two minutes of the lovely sound which I blended into the final mix. The bells just happened to be in the right key.

Lyrics:

[C] Christmas is [Dm] coming, the [Am] geese are getting [C] fat?
Won’t you please to put a [F] penny in the old [G] man’s [C] hat;?
If you haven’t got a [Dm] penny, a [Am] ha’penny will [C] do,
?If you haven’t got a [F] ha’penny [G] God bless [C] you!